Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Ethnic Divide: An Appeal to Enlightened Reason and Compassion

I'm going to get really personal today. It's not that I want to create controversy; it's that I think we need to advance to a new level of communication culturally, socially and politically -- especially before the 2008 national elections.

Therefore, in an attempt to avoid further power struggle based on arbitrarily constructed ethnic dichotomies, I will be [eventually] speaking in the first person as a "human being" rather than as a member of an ancient subset of Western European Culture - the Celtic Tribes -- who have joined the rest as we come to prey upon the hapless Latinos who inhabited the enchanted lands of the Southwest at least 300 years before the "Anglo Invasions."

Also, please make note -- not that it matters anyway, except for purposes of ironic humor -- that I am not "Anglo," "Saxon," "Anglo-Saxon," "Norman" or even distantly "Aryan" in the Germanic sense of the word, which is actually somewhat of a neologism -- I am Celtic -- at least the 3/4 of "me" that lies hidden by my Viking-Norman-Anglo-Saxon-Viking (-come-again) English surname.

We Celts are the pond scum of Europe, which is why green is our favorite color. We are the infamous and scoundrelly "left behinds" of European mass migrations and the penultimate losers in history's push westward by Genghis Khan's Mongolian Hoards from whom everyone in Europe retreated westward as refugees, sacking our fields, stealing our stock and uprooting us in riotous raids of pillage and plunder in the interest of their own survival. They were just victims like everyone else, you see, who were forced upon us by happenstance and a greater evil -- they were unlike us, of course, the disinherited of God, we pagans, and therefor the less deserving of His Salvation and Benefaction vis-à-vis the fecund lands and forested planes of Gaul in Southwestern Europa that were obviously reserved for the righteous who took them from us under Guidance and Grace. We fled the continent westward.

By destroying us, their last hope of alliance, they insured their own demise, a crushing defeat of near mythic proportions which was not stopped until the Mongol army reached the outskirts of Paris itself, halted in its tracks by broken supply lines and interrupted strategic lines of communication, weakened by the great distance between them and their homeland in Mongolia, far to the east of even the Russian Steeps and the Ural Mountains that divided the great continents of Europe from Asia. In all of history, only the conquests of Alexander the Great could stand in comparison and even Alexander's Greeks paled in terms of propagation and the forced spreading of the XY genetic code of the Great Khan by the vast and virile minions of his male offspring in command of his Hoards. Yet, we the Irish, despite our historic travails brought upon us by the migrating victims of Oriental savagery, never got least by the pricks of Genghis Khan. The English had better luck; and pricks they surely were.

Following upon this ancient human rationale of the fleeing desperate, within a few short centuries we found ourselves with no place else to hide from these hysterical refugees and The Misfortunes of War they visited upon us, except among the infertile island rocks and crags, the loathsomely catastrophic ocean battered steeps, the dank infested and fog-shrouded boggy-marshes, and the treacherous crevices and gully-washes of Ireland; isolated, swept by famine and forgotten until a heretic-hunting St. Patrick, commissioned by a preternaturally obsessed ante-Inquisitional Pope Celestine I, attempted to insure the faith of his good Christian brethren, then living among us from Roman Britain upon our more inhabitable soils and pasture lands -- the last possessions of value they had taken from us before our very lives were forcefully rendered in invasion after invasion -- by initiating pogroms against the Pelagian heretics in exile, while dismissing the rest of us as inconsequential and impotent -- the druidic heathen Celts -- left to entertain ourselves with our own Leprechauns for all they cared.

Of course, it is said in other fables that we kidnapped Patrick in his youth and brought him to Ireland as a slave before he escaped and returned to Britain, but that is neither here nor there. ;>)

There is a second version of Patrick's possible Germanic origins, both of which, in addition to others, seem to have coalesced into the mythic hero of Christian legend that he has now become.

According to legend, after proclaiming himself Bishop of all Ireland and Ireland his bishopric -- upon which he no doubt worked hard and furiously -- Pelladius of Gual (St. Patrick), proceeded to rid us of all our snakes.

So you see, we Celts are only the penultimate losers -- It is St. Patrick himself who holds the ultimate place of notoriety among the defamed and downtrodden -- a man not even Celtic who miraculously managed to retain his worst vice, the false pride which both resulted in his assignment to Ireland and this silly myth of his driving the snakes from our island (which in all probability were actually our bawdy, bodacious and buxom girlfriends who he attempted to replace with his own entourage of Franko-Germanic acolytes).

Thus, ultra-orthodox and portentously pompous by temperament, Pelladius' perfidious false pride and his stridently self-righteous missionary excesses not only led to his Gaelic notoriety in establishing -- no snakes of neurotic Freudian anxiety to scare, shame and distract him -- the monastic institutions in which he could hide from us and masturbate; but also, even more sadly, these miracles of St. Patrick led ironically to the infamous alcoholism of the Irish, having been left snakeless with only our own Leprechauns to entertain us upon Ireland's vernal beds of shamrock.

The one Saving Grace resulting from this great social upheaval spanning the Dark Ages was that we agreed to convert as long as we did not have to accept wienerwurst as part of our religious diet as apparently did the Franco-Germanic St. Patrick who went on to infamy in the Diocese of Boston as the Patron Saint of Altar Boys.

'Tis a sad and cruel history of snakes driven from the sight of monks only to emerge just as lustful and wiggly in the closeted winter rectories after Mass as when stretched out under vernal sunlight, virile and sunning free-natured upon green meadows of shamrock and maids-melon after aforenight's equinoctial incantations.

A Return to the Present

I have often -- but not always -- found the more intimate levels of communication, facilitated though personal disclosure, most helpful in avoiding the triggering of unconscious reaction formation, that crusader-like defense mechanism that foments its internalized aggressions against those misperceived as "outsiders," exterior to and separate altogether from one's own ego battlements and external boundaries, a primitive defense that finds one's own inner-psychic material so objectionable that he/she forms an aggressive moral reaction against it and projects it outside the self onto to others perceived as similarly "afflicted" and begins to crusade against them. It's that "First Hen that Cackled Syndrome."

Therefore, as much as I can, I will focus on my feelings rather than use too much intellectual analysis of "the other guy" [wink, wink], analysis that might unwitting reinforce a stultifying defensiveness that leads to even more conflict, blame, and solidification of the very arbitrary social constructions that I wish to expose and transcend.

I speak the King's English to drive home "the point."

My foremost political concern in this endeavor is that our society's racial and ethnic divisions are being exploited for political gain -- especially here in the Southwest -- by politicians and practitioners of Kissingerian Realpolitik and Straussian Neo-Conservatism through the continued implementation of a nefariously ingenuous strategic election plan, now notoriously known as "The Southern Strategy." The fact that, instead of against blacks in the South, it is now being employed in the Southwest to split-off white working and middle class males from a quickly growing, but non-homogeneous Hispanic Minority does not change the dynamics, goals or objectives of this Machiavellian strategy -- only its victims.

By using faux-domestic social issues such as "Immigration Reform" and by exploiting all the negative stereotypes, prejudices, irrational fears, ungrounded belief systems regarding the victimhood and increasing powerlessness among members of the dominant group, much of it based upon false reports of an increased rate of unemployment, poverty, cultural decadence and skyrocketing crime -- all due to an "ethinc invasion" by "illegal aliens" among us -- these right-wing authoritarian dirty tricksters are hoping to drive social wedges so deep as to insure their control over the real prize of their avarice: The continued dominance over a viciously neoconservative foreign policy -- just as "Welfare Reform" was covertly and maliciously exploited by Reagan, appropriated by Clinton (Bill and Hillary Clinton are somewhat moderate Neoconservatives, less strident than the Straussian set, but Neoconservative Corporatists nevertheless) and reinvented by the Grover Norquest protégé of Machiavellian dirty tricks, Herr Karl Rove, himself, and his functionally agnostic cadre of right-wing evangelical Zealots on behalf of [the Straussian Global Plutocracy's American Colonial Governor Richard Cheney's Viceroy] George Dubya Bush, and presented as "The Culture Wars."

Hatred and Fear are the demons of unenlightened authoritarianism. Make no mistake -- these "Lesser Angels" are being used by Corporatists, Dominionist Zealots and an international network of ethnocentric right-wing imperialists [affiliated with Israel's ultraconservative Likud Party, who seek the demise of all political alternatives] hoping to gain control of the world energy markets, re-insure their influence over world economic and monetary systems and secure the rebirth of an independent Israel in the "Holy Lands" of the Middle East, marketed to American Zealots of the right as "The Kingdom of Heaven" to come in the wake of "The Rapture."

The very last thing that our homegrown politicians want -- whether Republican or Democrat -- that is, those who represent the International Corporatist Neoconservative Establishment -- the moneyed elite -- is for the lower and middle income classes - of whatever ethnic-subcultural identity they can exploit -- to insightfully identify the issues these trickster coyotes exploit as Class Issues, rather than the socially constructed and ignorantly divisive racial, religious and ethnic domestic cultural issues they would trick us into believing they are. All the while our focus remains tethered to domestic social issues about which the elite could care less. The truly empowered members of the upper classes are concerned about economic issues, not social issues. My God, they don't need laws and social programs to insure their right to abortions or marriage or to a college education or to health care. Whatever they need they go and buy it. If laws are broken and they find themselves about to get arraigned, they pay people off. If they want power and status, they purchase it. Indeed, M-O-N-E-Y is the most essential tool of acquisition in our culture. The God Mammon! It may not buy you love but it damn sure will bring under your control the available resources as well as that of status and power.

Now, this is nothing more than Sociology 101a -- a first semester freshman course. But you have to be able to access institutions of higher learning, ones that provide the big picture, in order to come to a more sophisticated level of insight, compassion and Enlightened Reason. This is why education is so terribly important if we are to achieve an egalitarian society that is inclusive of ALL its people and which promotes our common good.
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Before moving on, I want to highlight a blog that inspired my rant on the social construction of ethnicity. The blog is The Unapologetic Mexican, and his article is entitled, "There's Death in the Passing Lane: The White Lens".

Now this blogger's personal history would be quite inflammatory were in not for the fact that it is autobiographical. If not enlightened, he is audaciously willing to make a display of his suffering as a half-white, half-Mexican male growing up in what he perceives, quite realistically, as a racist Southwest.

My hope for my fellow journalist is that he may find peace. You will have to click-on this link and read the featured blogger's article if you are to "get" what I write in response, zen though it surly is.

+ + +
[....]And this life I've livedwhich would be a white one by default—is where my feelings about trying to "blend in" come from. As I've said many times, nobody has tried harder than I to be "white." Nobody knows as well as I that despite how many moments you think you pull it off, unless its what you really are, then in the end, being WHITE means erasing yourself until there's nothing there. A big part of The White Idea is that alternate histories do not matter. And why should they? You now stand upon the greatest mound of story ever invented. Embrace it. Your history and culture and affiliation with any other people doesn't matter. (Especially with brown people.) You are to let that go. And just be in the here and now with America the Beautiful, where everyone is equal racism is dead the dream is arrived etc. etc

And I know for some people this works very well.

But yes, long before everyone was blogging about Mexicans and realizing that people like Lou Dobbs were feeding a loathsome beast of ignorance and hatred against those south of the border, I was aware of this beast, as it crawled behind me, as I zigged and zagged to escape it. With name changes, with deflections and denials, with bleach and contact lenses and every other thing I could do to escape the blood in my veins, the historia in my past, the tint of my skin, the lay of my hair, the truth of my genetic affiliation in any way it presented itself.

And so (before the days I'd shift it over to Italy) for many years, I was "Spanish," and I have to tell you, it has taken some time getting used to the idea that I am not. I used "Spanish" far more often than "Mexican" and to this day, some people use "Spanish" for "Mexican" or basically anything "Spanish-speaking," which is where you get "Hispanic" from. Which, of course, is why these days it's a point of pride that I highlight Mexico, O, most dear and slandered of countries! O, ghetto of the U.S.A. Many may try to crush the Indio out of existence with all the talk of First World and Economy and Western Civilization, but they will not crush you from my mind and my heart. The Indian lives here, lives on. It is not a romantic affectation that inspires this in me, it is not some escapist affiliation. It is my stand against a long tide of oppression and erasure. I am the masses of my people, the man said. And I will not be absorbed. [....]

Now here is my own rant, which I wrote in response to the above but which the blogger has not yet published. In reading it again, I sound terribly arrogant and condescending, if not angry just as well, at the "reverse racism" I have experienced in West Texas coming from Hispanics whom I never knew before moving here, a stranger in a strange land. Yet I idealized them, a people of the land; a hard working, hard living, tragically mortal group with a sacred sense of nationhood withing the Kingdom of God; the poor and disenfranchised of whom Jesus spoke, "blessed are the pure in heart; for they will see God." For "The last shall be first and the first shall be last" in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Sadly, poverty and a hard-scrabble agricultural life with loyal notions of love for extended family does not necessarily amount to the "purity of heart" spoken of by our common spiritual ancestor. My intention is not to reinforce the dichotomy between "victim" and "oppressor;" rather, I hope to expose the "dysfunctional dynamic" that is perpetuating our common suffering by standing tall in my own suffering and juxtaposing it against someone who may perceive me as in conflict with his deserved fulfillment of human need simply by virtue of my skin color [if he only knew]. Here is my editorial response to The Unapologetic Mexican:

I just this morning wrote a painful missive of my own [see below] regarding my shock at the racism in West Texas, having moved here from one of the most progressive cities in the South. The racism I see moves in multiple directions, projections of mostly socially constructed memes, as you say, and I am "white," if you prefer, but not Anglo or Aryan. Certainly not of a privileged class, as I am often treated here, -- born with a silver spoon in my mouth -- unless you consider the working class of America to be elite -- but then, our cognitions, beliefs, and prejudices really depend on one's point in the stream of things as we look around us -- that, and what we learn from each other and call "reality." But then, that is why I am so drawn to Buddhism. I suppose one really must build an "identity" before transcending it.

As we struggle in this world of suffering, made more difficult by our own demands, desires and avoidance, it seems only those of "noble birth" come to the sacred realization that we are more of The Oneness in this ergonomically created Uni-verse, than of our selfishly constructed egos and the philosophy of radical individualism that supports this illusion.

So congratulations on coming to the realization that you are "a Mexican." And just when we were beginning to think there was hope for a world in harmony and united in oneness of spirit and light.

Now, think how a "gay Mexican" must have suffered during what you would surely recognize as a life of isolation, abuse, neglect, abandonment, disenfranchisement and then add to that the estrangement, abandonment and ultimate exile within one's own family, the projective shame and identification and a 20th century assortment of modern, post-modern and post-post modern socially constructed mind-fucking that accompanies religion and morality -- that same sense of the righteous that drives lepers to their colonies and sinners to their whores and whores to their confessors and confessors to their closets, into the dark where there is no one there to shame them anymore.

Now, I happen to be by "blood," as you say, mostly "Irish" -- or "Celtic," as is now the fashion -- but I was raised by an Irish Catholic mother acculturated to life in rural New Mexico and a mostly Anglo/Irish/Scott/Welsh father born in Georgia into the remains of the antebellum South but raised in Tampa, the 13th son of a 13th son with no more inheritance than a bluegrass fiddle. However "racist" and "entitled" the paternal side of my family might have been before the War Between the States, the paternal family name is thoroughly Viking, resulting from a generation of pillage, rape and plunder by a testosterone-hopped leader who perhaps had been driven to prove himself by an even more vigorous zealotry and likewise outrageous definition of "machismo" than that of your own ancestors. Hamm the Viking was quite the hero, at least in his own mind, and I'm sure he would have drank your own cultural hero, Pancho Villa, to a shitfaced silliness under the mesquite-wood tables of any barroom in northern Chihuahua. That was right before he and his men left all our grandmothers pregnant and all of their husbands dead, having been dignified in death by the chalice of blood and honor in defeat, bits of brain speckled on the door posts like a passover sacrifice that was a sick joke in the nostrils of Michael and the Archangels.. And with nothing but his name to give us he returned to the high seas with the plunder of England and all the sweet memories of their swagger while laughing in vile pride at the retching Norman and Celtic women left leaking and cursing their future children and a God who would allow such orgies of the Apocalypse, butt fucked, cock sucked, wine drowned and cunt stuffed, throat chocking and blue-faced slapping celebrations of wicked Gehena and teeth grinding vainglory, drunkenness and memories purloined of all virtue. Why? Who gives a fuck why? It was only meant to be burped and farted and forgotten.

It was Einstein who said that we are ALL murderers, for it is we who survived, the others not being mad or immoral enough to kill. I have survived. What wonder is it then that I would waste my time with you, a Mexican. Friedrich Nietzsche called Jesus, himself, a sissy. A punk. Can you imagine that? Turing the other cheek is the act of a coward, he said. But then, Nietzsche was a "German," whatever that meant at the time.

You see, it's not a "white thing" that happens to "Mexicans" and "Mestizos." We all have 23 paired chromosomes and one pair of nuts. At least 49% of us anyway. And that's when there's no war going on. It's how we struggle endlessly to give it meaning that determines the path we take further and further from the center, in flight from The All. It's the attitudes we learn about what is "Mexican," about what is "Anglo" and "dominant" or "oppressed."

By the way, have you made fun of any "queers" this week? Spat at any "lesbians"? Aimed you pick-up truck at any barking dogs in the street just because they are "dogs" and nobody gives a shit about a "dog's" life? Stomped on any bugs just because you are "human" and because they annoyed you? Shot a bird just to watch if fall from the sky?

So again, before I start beating this dying horse, even while all the Latinos on my block assume that I am a person of privilege and that I hate them and so they try and raise the price of a paint job because I am "white," or break-in-line ahead of me in the grocery story because I "deserve it," or withhold a simple kindness because I am their "oppressor," I congratulate you on discovering something you must now transcend -- transcend it or it will kill you and kill me, shooting back and forth across borders that even the rain and the sun refuse to observe, boundaries the rivers and streams violate and only those who are completely convinced they are truly the elite while we nevertheless reinforce their kingdoms of sand because we believe in them too, go on to fantasied immortality as legends, storied bullshitters hanging their drawers on the line after washing out the buttstains.

Namaste, my brother. Peace and Blessings to the Christ Geronimo within you who calls himself by other names when you are not attentive to his great benevolence, her loving kindness and cool kisses. If you were a burglar, he would surrender to you his moon rather than leave you obsessed with trifles such as money and possessions. Did you know that you already posses it all? For the rapist he would give the great ocean and tidal basins that flow with the moon rather than leave him debauched in the moment of worshipful orgasm and believing that moment will continue to satisfy tomorrow and tomorrow again the relief of all suffering -- that illusion of escape, as if there were such a cell door to some "outside." For you, the King, he would give a crown of thorns and a common criminal's death then worship your blood pouring forth from a holy chalice as it is savored in the mouths of drunkards and as it sweeps away the worries and suffering of those in opium dens and whore houses...away to sleep and into dreams. Into dreams of warriors who kill a piece of themselves and that of the stars, thinking they are "enemies" and "undocumented migrants," and "criminals," and "pompous politicians." Away into hallucinations and phantoms drifting about in the shadows of old women and the children clinging to their dresses and the smoke rising in swirls and ringlets from grandfathers' cigars. These are the "sins" we die for. Our blood is poured for you upon altars of sacrifice so that you will know once and for all time that there is nothing to suffer that that is not made worse by not accepting that it is indeed "The Way." There is nothing to suffer when there is no one to suffer it -- when the ego has long since died its natural death among cultures of death and funerary lamentations (some are even paid to weep for you). When the son becomes his father, was never any different in matter of essence, in the essenes of spirit, as if the first word uttered itself is somehow anything other than what it is, transpiring as it travels the the vacuums and tombs of eternity, riding the lights of illusion into some imagined "THING" -- algunos cosas de independencia, el cosas importante del promiso -- separate and distinct and no-thing more -- or less-- than an effervescence of thought, a breath of delight among spring flowers transformed into mysterious and ineffable .....motivations. And then forgotten in the presence of other joys, like a circus elephant farting so tightly as you walk by under the big tent that you think his asshole has winked at you and he wants to buy you a cherry soda and lend you his massive soda straw nose to drink it with, listening to your confessions with such floppy-eared attentiveness that you would eat straw to fart like that and perform for someone else the liberating pronouncements of atonement and rapprochement with innocence.

When you wake up from this stilted and restless sleep and find that cannabis will no longer dissolve your rage and that alcohol only exacerbates your suffering, I hope to be there hiding -- blended in color and substance -- among the silicone grains of sand, tide washed and equanimous like the half-smiles on the leeward faces of creeping dunes under moonlight, or covered in volcanic ash swept away laughing by foaming surf and riptides. There I will be, resting in peace, all the while smiling at you -- no, bowing in deep gassho in my starfish jeweled saffron robes among the sunflowers, weeping in joy at the honor, foam-surge, washing across my face like so many thousands of prayer flags stung on twinning lines and running to the stulfu- that is you vomiting up your pickled egg salad sandwich -- the one that eons before this morning's hangover took form as a particle of light sprinting on the wings of Mercury from a distant sun, kissed by Adonai Eli-Jah Elohim and swept away enraptured in mango sweetened breath to prophesy to suffering slaves of the company time-clock and factory whistles and taxi cab meters under the palms of the universe itself, all transformed in an egg-yoke and delivered to your breakfast table in the presence of the Buddha that you might think yourself someone other than the Christ and yet feel secure without his help because its A the day after payday.

A Mexican indeed. A Jew. A Native American. An Anglo, a Celtic, a forlorn magician wiping his ass and lamenting that he still does not have the power to make it happen on its own. A fucking Republican pedophile. A family values actor who whispers in your ear that you are special and that he will see to that all the little babies are born alive so that they can die for him years later in the dessert. An Afgani, an Iraqi, a Jihadist, a Lion of Juda, Magnificent Maji reading the stars and deciphering Enoch's secrets, a pebble under a monk's sandal. Yet another yellow splotch on the windshield who's last thing passing through its innocent mind was its own ass when it hit the glass. It is all so worrying...and senseless when you think of the distant waters and they suddenly sweep you into yourself -- the great no-self of forgiveness and eternity wherein the bug on the windshield is the heartbeat of the rabbit who pauses, ears erect in the dew, silhouetted on the sagebrush as you speed by on the way to work, afraid of what "the boss" will say when you walk in late......again.

Go then, young grasshopper, and be a Mexican for a while. There really is no one here to hold it against you and no "you" to hold it against. Nothing to hold that does not already contain itself within its own burrito (I thought I'd use a metaphor that’s culturally appropriate, one that if you get angry about my use of it only gives testimony to the dreams we live in). As for me, I want to be a carpenter and find someone to have my baby.


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Here is "my painful missive," to which I referred in an editorial response above to The Unapologetic Mexican. If he posts it, which I doubt he will since I see he has been active today in fact, you will find it under his blog article elucidating his apparently painful personal history at the hands of the dominant culture. I use the term "dominant culture," because social and economic oppression by such groups who accrue and then enjoy social power, wealth and status while withholding it from all outside their "in-group," do so not because they are "white" or "Western European" but because they are human and subject to human group dynamics and process.

In other words,
I can all but guarantee, give or take a few exceptions due to locally developed social conditions, that any sociologist worth his/her weight in "the scientific study of human group behavior" [i.e., sociology as self-defined], will stand by the assertion that dominance by the in-group [that is, the dominant group] over all other out-groups, [e.g., members of minority groups], is universal among human groups, tribes, and other divisions related to group size and the dynamics the enhance the group-defined criteria for inclusion of its members.

Well how White of me to say so, eh? But I would rather that my descriptions of "reality" approach the level of experimentally testable and observable data needed to function within a predictable range of validity, as faithful to the epistemological method of science, as well as the methods of reason and experience, as possible. Nevertheless, I am not foolish to discount the reality of other cultures, despite my own vulnerability to ethnocentrism.

But more than anything else, I am a practitioner of Christian Zen Buddhism, which lends itself nicely to the scientific method as well as the mysticism and spirituality of Yeshuwa ben Yosef. Yet, I will admit that the term is a bit of an oxymoron, given that, Buddhism moves to the universal, ergonomic level of consciousness -- Oneness, if you will, while it drives the awareness of the practitioner to recognize how his selfish behavior is complicating the karma of the community and creating suffering for himself and others, demanding spiritual growth as a means of experiencing a respite from suffering -- yet, what I have achieved by combining categories into the phrase, "Christian Zen Buddhism," is laughable dichotomous and subject to the corruption of socially defined categories producing projections of a conjured reality that serves the selfishly immature individual ego and betrays the tribe as well as the environment with which we live in inter-relationship.

In conventional terms, anything short of compassion for one's neighbor as one's-self has the potential to create more global warming. ;>)

Oh yes indeed, the "apocalypse" is upon us, as the Evangelicals say. It's just that we all seem to believe someone else is responsible for it or else we are so condemned by our social conditioning that a pernicious form of western radical individualism has led to the corruption of nihilism such that a tragically significant number of people just don't give a shit.

While scientists must give themselves over to a form of objective observation necessary to the collection of data, their efforts are all but impossible without having achieved the hightest levels of "enlightened consciousness" seen rarely outside Buddhist monasteries. I refer to a level of awareness -- a level of "observation" -- so cleanly accomplished, free of all culturally constructed contaminants, that the practitioner is said to be so at One with all about him that the mundane individual consciousness is dissolved yet wholly contained within the ergonomically functioning whole of the universe.

Some have called this "God-Consciousness" or "no-self" or "Buddha Nature," but the direct experience of this phenomenon, called "the Dharma" -- at its best,
a secondary representation of Universal Law of Existence in relationship with It-self, contained within the teachings of Buddhism -- is ineffable. Direct experience transcends the limits of language, which can only tertiarially represent the Universal Reality using symbols after the original point in time moving pristinely forward -- that first "nin" of pure experience. Thus, the recognition of such purity of experience of universal awareness is itself secondary to the experience, for the observer is still a "subject" individually observing a system of "objects" perceived as separate from him/her-self. This is the "second nin," according to Sunryu Suzuki, the great Zen roshie. The putting into words of this experience is the third "nin" expressed in speech. In itself, it is an act of creation by the Universal Consciousness Itself:
In the beginning was The Word [Logos]
And The Word was with God;
And The Word was God.
Through Him all things were brought into being;
Nothing which came into being had its being except through Him.
And The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.....
Thomas Aquinas came to believe that The Original Word (I purposely add Eastern meaning with the addition of the word "original"] exists in godhead relationship with the Universal One, of which we are all children (just not the firstborn) vis-à-vis "the love which proceeds between the Father and Son" [cf., Summa Theologica] which is The Holy Spirit representing the universal feminine in Wisdom and Compassion -- the energic fruit of the spiritual life which presents as all of the "gifts of the spirit" [cf., Ephesians], as well.

Now, this Trinitarian concept, a tertiary symbolic description of the ineffable Integral Universal, that Eli Jah Adonai which Peter called The Sublime Glory, brings us full circle back to St. Patrick and his three-leafed shamrock.

So, having come out of left field we find our intrepid anti-hero on the steeps of the Davis Mountains, lamenting to his "novia" the sad state of the world:

Haven’t checked on Brock yet. I’ve been working on this computer all day trying to get rid of a SNAFU when it shuts down – it hangs up and I have to finally unplug it. I had upgraded to a nicer antivirus program but it turned out to be not all that nice to my computer’s configuration.

I sent Brock an email along with the entire family --- AND I stipulated in the options configuration that they have to acknowledge they received the mail so that I will know who all got the mail. That reminds me – I’m going to have to hunt down a couple of cousins who have been checking in on him regularly. But, you know, after praying for your family so intensely and then teasing you about moving in with them to help them get along, I can see myself in League City. He always was my favorite uncle – my mother’s big brother. He is about 85 I think [88]. I may just try to call him but I hate this track phone.

I’ve got a long story to tell you about my continuing “cultural problems” out here. Seems there is quite a bit of racial backlash from the Latino community out here and I am having trouble getting people to accept ME, but first they are going to have to see beyond my white skin. The girl who runs the city of Balmorhea, has continuously held my feet to the fire on city stuff while at the same time she lets the 90% Hispanic [population] slide. I’m okay with that except that at times I think she (and others) are trying to rip me off and/or drive me out of town [paranoia...or not?]. Today and yesterday the game was “let’s see if we can get over on the white guy.” Ms. R., the city manager/secretary lady told me that she has been getting a lot of complaints about my yard (me mowing) – and I know Balmorhea well enough now to know that's bullshit – SHE wants me to cut it and she has just the friend who can do it for me so that I don’t have to pay the $200 fine that “she’s letting me off on.” Well the guy comes over and he wants $200 to mow my little yard. Looks like I am going to buy a sickle and get to swinging at weeds.

M.R. is the one who tried to hit me for a $600 water bill but I got the [ex]mayor – who is Latino BTW, but who treats everyone the SAME -- to make her apply the extant CITY POLICY that if you have a water leak the city will forgive the bill one time a year. She had told me a slightly different version of the policy when I pressed it – one that would have cost me quite a bit more. People look at you out here and automatically judge you (pre-judge…or “prejudice” as it goes). And if you’re white, not all but most Latinos automatically assume you are rich, have a big [bank] account, have enjoyed a life of privilege, etc. NOT TRUE FOR ME! Waaaahhhhh!

And so many people treat you as if they are trying TO MAKE A POINT that you are NO BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE, but this [quite valid] point is made so often and persistently that it amounts [in itself] to a form of discrimination and prejudice that is simply hateful and rude and I am feeling all along …..boooo hoooo hooooo. Don’t you feel sorry for me? [And I’m thinking about
Jesus on the cross all of a sudden and that I have had to endure so LITTLE in comparison]. So I’m a big baby, so what? Onward with the story…..

I am getting the incredibly distinct impression that white people are targets in West Texas. I have always been the leader in my group for tolerance all my life so I don’t think I deserve this treatment just because the last generation of red neck Caucasoids raised out here with the rattlesnakes didn’t seem to care which direction in which they spit their chewing tobacco when there were Mexicans around. And it seems of late that I’m constantly wishing “haters” would go take their anger out on someone else. Of course, you know of my struggles with G.. Yesterday, he came to work looking really sharp and I told him so. He also did a good job with the graduation ceremony we had in Education yesterday and I told him so. I think he nearly fell out of his chair when I did, but my strategy is just as important to my own well being as it is seeing about his – so I’ve been practicing acts of random kindness. ….or something like that…random acts of practiced kindness….you do know how much I love you -- way more than anyone else (in Balmorhea) -- don’t you? ;>) See? Just like that.

Out here, people break in line in front of you just because you’re white and their parents had a hard time with your parents….well not mine, anyway. This goes on constantly; I just usually overlook it because other people’s racial hatred and resentment of the past is just not about ME – it’s about THEM and their own history and karma. Unfortunately, I’m learning that a culture in PLACE projects its karma onto all who would join in. It’s forced upon you spiritually and emotionally and sometimes it even threatens you physically, as in the case with
Mr. G..

Ironically (but not without a sense of martyrdom), all the while on my blogs I continued to take up the flag of open borders, proactive immigration reform and international brotherhood. Yesterday, I was feeling so sorry for myself, I changed all my links on my most pro-Latino blog and I notified THE LARGEST Latino blogger in the US that I was dropping his service as an act of protest – that I felt that my neighbors in West Texas no longer deserved my voice in forwarding minority rights and liberties because they didn’t know how to practice tolerance themselves. (Haven’t heard back.) and

“I’ve never been treated so rudely in all my life” -- as a degreed professional – as I have been treated out here [without ALANON].

[Rereading this missive of self-pity, I can see the incredible strength of the culturally projected triangulation that goes on out here -- Victim/Persecutor/Rescuer – and I get so pissed off when someone projects the Persecutor Role onto me that I redouble my efforts as a “nice guy,” and a rescue fireman rushing into a burning building to save others but never getting the appreciation and “narcissistic cookies and milk” I think I deserve myself. Is it me? Is it my codependence? Or do people really not give a shit for “strangers, widows and orphans” out here? [cf. Epistle of James, on "true religion]

Matthew 25? “Lord, when did we see you naked and not clothe you? When did we see you homeless and not provide shelter? When did we see you sick and not render aid? When were you in prison and we failed to visit and comfort you?” “ I tell you most solemnly, whenever you saw the least of these poor suffering and did not help, you did it unto me.” OUCH!!]

Well, I got out of the hospital, having flatlined and feeling nauseous and weak – had to take a bus to
Pecos then hitchhike a couple of miles to my car. Despite choosing the BUSIEST street in Pecos – the DRAG [Eddie Street] – no one would give me a ride and I sensed with all my being that it was because I am white. They just don’t give a shit. They never did. And they’re not going to start giving a shit just because my feelings are hurt and I feel rejected and isolated.

I pleaded our case for a pay raise in a personal visit with the County Judge, a man who has the power of authority to make it happen. Despite all of the injustices committed by GEO against us personally and against our department and against our very profession, this County Judge simply did not give one holy shit that I was going to loose my professional license without help, even after transferring with the company to West Texas because they could not find anyone with my credentials to fill the job as required under contract, while my working buddy D.T.'s career was being derailed because the company would not pay for [the renewal of] our counselor institute license [with the State Health Dept] and our program had been completely gutted and we were told that we were not going to get a curriculum, to fake it, “just give them a "Big Book" and send them back to their dorms,” and that we were not needed anymore under the new [local] federal contract, but they were going to keep us on because it looked good for contract negotiations…..and do you know why the county judge did not give a desert rat’s coprophagous shit about the injustice of corporatism, greed, personal abandonment in an isolated region and the company disloyalty and apathy it all implied? [Every Latino even agrees with us]. It’s because I am white and D.T. is black and we are not a member of the county judge’s extended family clique and he could care less if a white guy gets abandoned in West Texas by his company, a loyal, hardworking black man’s career dream gets pooped over, or if an inmate stays sober when he gets out of prison just as long as he doesn’t live in his neighborhood where he just might have to muster up a good holy shit once -- by GRACE -- he realizes that he contributed to the rising recidivism rates because of personal laziness, apathy, racism, ethnocentrism, and because we are not Latinos or members of his set. I spoke with this man twice, got lied to, brushed off and insulted because of his overwhelming internalization of oppression and the projection that I was his enemy.

At work, I have been building a library of substance abuse CDs and I regularly share them with the other instructors, but D., my working buddy, pointed out to me that even when the clique rents their own movies, they never offer to let us borrow them. NEVER.

The other day, they had a big birthday luncheon for one of the teachers, part of the Latino clique and a really fine old man that I like a lot. But you know what? They have D.'s and my birthday written down on their calendars (they asked and we gave them to them) but they never even said Happy B-day to either of us and refused to participate when I tried to organize a surprise party for D.T. Complete, unconscious, apathy. It’s not that they don’t like D. or that they don’t like me; it’s more that we are just not [familia], and so the result is that we are left never feeling that we belong – one of Abraham Maslow’s basic human needs. And, wouldn’t you know it? It took a Jewish psychologist – an outsider – to recognize the unfulfilled needs all around him in American Culture. We simply don’t belong. We are outsiders.

Despite that they all got raises under the new contract and we did not, never, ever concerned any of them. If they followed the bell curve in determining our wages [like they claim], my salary would be much, much higher than anyone’s in the education department except the director – GEO took that title away from me as well to save money, then stuck us into the ED Dept. But we are simply asking for wage PARITY. We just want to make the same as all the other instructors in the Ed Dept. But do you know what? No one gives a rat's ass unless it concerns them directly.

Do you think being in a union so long has ruined my outlook? It is obvious to me that I am working off a very different cognitive paradigm. I’m not convinced that my own is not spiritually enlightened in many, many ways that I can’t live up to myself. In other words, I can’t attribute this hatred to culture alone. We still have the same number of chromosomes and these “in-group versus out-group” behaviors are certainly universal across cultural boundaries, but GEE WILLIKERS! What Boundaries they are indeed!!!!!!

And you know that the whole supervisory write-up thing from last week?...the tizzy over my emailing in that I would be out sick when I lost my cell-phone? That was ALL about the clique insisting that “we” of the PRIVILEGED CLASS have to adhere to the jot and title of the law to prove our egalitarian mettle, when they let each other off the hook all the time even to the point of covering up violence and threats of violence, client abuse, etc.. It’s like the NYPD’s “Code of the Blue.” (BTW, I took your advice and practiced my sense of humor regarding the write up). Nothing was ever done to G. for his continuous threats yet the warden sensed that he had to punish me for emailing instead of calling because he didn’t want anyone to think he was favoring another white person. Well they’re all proving they are racist simply because they ARE and I’m on the verge of telling everyone that they can just kiss by big-ol’-white-ass. This IS discrimination, and the excuse that “it’s your turn to see how it feels” does not a compassionate rationale make. How long before I’m over the edge into this abyss of hatred in response?

I think I will always remember the stunning reality-punch delivered to my spirit by an “ex-convict” who told me that he never was a racist until he went to prison. In prison, groups are so divided by race and ethnicity and religion and age that a guy like me who just stumbles in and out is likely to get beat-up pretty badly for not “respecting” the street code – “Omerta,” it is called. The Law. What naiveté I had when I moved out here from Austin, one of the most progressive cities in the South! Well, nobody is changing for me just because I want them to or because I have an overbearing sense of self-righteousness that people and political parties and local politicians should at least act enlightened, if not “Christian.”

Yesterday, I endured a sermon by a “non-denominational” Christian minister (the ESL teacher who is working with Mexican Nationals who are probably 98% Catholic) who felt honor-bound to express his stridency to me against the Catholic Church. Thank God! It was the closest I felt all week to the other Latino teachers who are, of course, Catholic. ;>) I was hoping the guy would go on so that I could weasel in unnoticed into the group and find my place among the disenfranchised.

But then, once we weathered the storm of Evangelical righteousness (that I probably deserve, given how stupid and ignorant I think dominionists and Rushdooney Ditto-Heads are), it [began to] happened again. They all started speaking Spanish in front of me [and rolling their eyes toward me] when I made a comment someone disagreed with.

My God, how is spiritual growth ever possible? -- or is this not a blessing in disguise? Can you see why I love the desert so much? It’s the refuge in which I find solitude and The Universal One. And being such a DISTINCT outsider, along with no little sense of sociological imagination and education, I am condemned to a life of awareness that drives and drags me further into the desert reaches to find peace with my God. No wonder I love Abba and His dogs and little critters so much. They don’t have a clue that I’m white and [that I] don’t speak Spanish.

At home in Balmorhea I can get grounded again.……..And then, at approximately 3:45 yesterday afternoon, the city secretary thought of a way she could help her extended family friends make some money off the white guy who surely must be loaded despite all [my] bills and time off work and despite yards looking worse than mine all over the village….to say nothing of the horses that wander loose, the goats, chickens and turkeys [Balmorhea is the only town in the US, as far as I know, that has a sign on main street that amounts to, “Slow Turkeys at Play.” No really! But $200 to cut the grass? Am I still dreaming? It is Saturday, you know.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Legislators on panel to oversee TYC reforms received thousands from The GEO Group

"Legislators on panel to oversee TYC reforms received thousands"
08:46 AM CDT on Friday, October 12, 2007
By STEVE McGONIGLE and HOLLY BECKA / The Dallas Morning News

State Rep. Jerry Madden held his annual "How Sweet It Is" dessert party in Plano on Thursday night to raise money for a future campaign. One of the sponsors at the $2,500 "cherries jubilee" level was to be The GEO Group Inc., a Florida-based corrections company.

Until last week, GEO operated the Coke County Juvenile Justice Center near Bronte under contract with the Texas Youth Commission. In recent years, the company has donated to the campaigns of some legislators who oversee the youth agency.

Two of them, Mr. Madden and Sen. John Whitmire, are co-chairmen of the special legislative committee established this year to oversee reforms of TYC in the wake of a sexual abuse scandal at the West Texas State School in Pyote.

Mr. Madden, R-Plano, received a total of $2,500 from GEO's political action committee in 2005 and 2006, according to campaign finance records.

Mr. Whitmire, a Houston Democrat, received $2,000 from the political action committee of Wackenhut Corrections Corp., as GEO was previously known, in 2003 and 2004.

Other recipients of GEO or Wackenhut contributions are Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who received $2,500 in 2006 and $2,500 in 2004, and House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, who received $1,000 in 2005, state records show.

In addition to Mr. Madden, the chairman of the House Corrections Committee, two other panel members received donations from GEO or Wackenhut. Rep. Delwin Jones, R-Lubbock, received $250 in 2006. And Pat Haggerty, R-El Paso, received $500 from the Wackenhut Corrections PAC in 2004.

Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and another member of the Joint Committee on the Operation and Management of the Texas Youth Commission, received $250 in 2006.

Mr. Madden's predecessor as head of the corrections committee, Ray Allen, received $3,500 in 2003 and 2004 from Wackenhut. He since has left public office and is a lobbyist for GEO.

The GEO Group, don't forget, is the same infamous Wackenhut Corporation reborn under K-Street "lobby rules" [READ: legalized bribery] for playing fast and loose with government money as a sometimes CIA front company in Latin America where they facilitated the transportation of cocaine to the Bloods and Crips of Los Angeles and provided security at the biological weapons research labs we said we didn't have -- all part of a scam on the U.S. Congress that came to be known as the Iran-Contra Affair.

After all, it still only takes
Lawyers, Guns & Money

* * * * * *

N.C. Prison Doesn't Serve D.C. Inmates Well, Critics Say

ROBERT E. PIERRE, WASHINGTON POST - [Rivers Correctional Institution] was built specifically to house inmates from the District. . . Busloads of wives, mothers and children trek here on a four-hour drive passing fields laden with watermelons, pumpkins and rows of cotton.

The rural North Carolina prison, run by the private GEO Group, has become a symbol for what inmates, their families and city leaders say is harsher treatment of D.C. inmates in federal prisons compared with other inmates. Drug treatment and job training options are inadequate, critics say. As a result, too many inmates return home unprepared to do anything but get sent back.

The 200 miles separating the District and Winton creates its own set of problems. Families can have difficulty getting information about relatives' health -- or even their whereabouts -- in a system that imprisons 193,000 nationwide. And the distance drains family resources and isolates inmates from city services that could aid rehabilitation.

ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON IS holding a hearing on DC's outsourced prisons, but it's a bit late since she, like other DC officials, failed to raise a mighty roar when the takeover occurred. The takeover was part of the federal government's inexcusable seizure of DC in the mid-1990s for which we are still paying the price.

Monday, October 8, 2007

TYC -- Pyote/Coke County Updates

The West Texas State School case manager
who filed the initial report of abuse occurring at the TYC Pyote juvenile facility has been vindicated. Despite reporting allegations of possible sexual abuse passed on to him by juvenile residents at the facility -- an ethical, moral and legal obligation to report required of him by virtue of his profession, as mandated by the Texas Family Code; Chapter 261 -- he became a victim of the overlords of the system himself.

There is a tremendous lesson for us all in his story -- one of faith, perseverance and courage under duress. Today's Dallas Morning News carries the story along with background...

Billy Hollis [above], who reported inmate abuse by his superiors at the West Texas State School in Pyote, emerged from the attempts by former TYC officials to bury him. He recently was installed as assistant superintendent of the school, taking the job that once belonged to the man whose strange behavior he vainly tried to stop.
PYOTE, Texas – They're all gone now, fired or retired or under indictment, sent to their unhappy exits after nobody listened to Billy Hollis. Even the old office carpet has been thrown out, except the incriminating piece.

"I never would have envisioned this," Mr. Hollis said, smiling broadly.

He is the recently installed assistant superintendent of the West Texas State School, the remote juvenile prison operated by the Texas Youth Commission.

Mr. Hollis took the job that once belonged to the man whose strange behavior he vainly tried to stop. No longer are teenage inmates brought to the assistant superintendent's office for late-night porn-viewing sessions.

"It's a new TYC here," Mr. Hollis said....

* * * * *

In related GEO Group news concerning the ongoing TYC scandals, follow-ups are coming in on the closure of the Coke County Juvenile Justice Center last week.

It appears now that public concerns regarding The GEO Group's contractual obligations with the Texas Youth Commission are spreading to its private prison contracts with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice* as well. We have this from the Dallas Morning News:

When asked about Texas Department of Criminal Justice contracts with GEO Group Inc., TDCJ spokeswoman Michelle Lyons e-mailed this statement [pdf]:

TDCJ contracts with GEO for operations of the Bridgeport, Estes, Lockhart and Cleveland units. At each facility, monthly unscheduled visits conducted in the last 12 months did not indicate any major findings. Additionally, there were 10 scheduled site visits to Bridgeport, 13 scheduled site visits to Estes, 14 scheduled site visits to Cleveland and 13 scheduled visits to Lockhart and those visits did not indicate any major findings. The site visits are made by officials with TDCJ's Private Facility Contract Monitoring/Oversight Division, based in Huntsville and Austin. Each facility also has an on-site monitor.

GEO operates the North Texas Intermediate Sanction Facility in Fort Worth, and the South Texas Intermediate Sanction Facility in Houston. Each facility has an on-site monitor. In addition, there were scheduled and unscheduled site visits to each of those facilities. At North Texas, monthly unannounced site visits in the last 12 months have not indicated any major findings, and a Security Review in July 2007 indicated zero findings of noncompliance.

A division level review was conducted at the South Texas ISF in June 2006 and a significant number of findings were noted. The review looked at 25 functional areas consisted of 395 applicable checklist items, of which 138 items were found to be in noncompliance. Each of those deficiencies has been corrected through verification visits and follow-up reviews, and 11 unannounced site visits conducted during the last 12 months indicated no major findings.

GEO operates a halfway house in Fort Worth consisting of 180 beds. Several incidents of offender/officer inappropriate relationships were reported at the facility and were investigated by the Office of Inspector General. Actions were taken related to the office misconduct. Additionally, it was noted that there were four offender deaths between January and April 2007. All deaths were of natural causes -- three due to heart-related conditions and one due to TB-related complications. OIG investigations did not indicate any suspicious activities related to these deaths, and the opinion for the cause of death in each case was due to the poor medical condition of each offender.

Note: TDCJ contracts with the Jefferson County Jail and Newton County Correctional Center for beds. Those two counties in turn have contracts with GEO.

We will continue vigorous contract monitoring of all our privately-run facilities, and are absolutely committed to working with the state leadership as they review contract and monitoring oversight issues at state facilities. We will use this opportunity to ensure our own system of monitoring is as comprehensive as possible.

In her last paragraph, spokeswoman Lyons was referring to the recently initiated investigations by the Texas State Senate Committee on Criminal Justice and its chairperson, Sen. John Whitmire [D-Houston; pictured above right]. [See related story in yesterday's blog of 10-07-07.]

The Dallas Morning News maintains an archive of stories pertaining to the Coke County and West Texas State School scandals at: Investigative Reports - TYC

*[The GEO Group-managed RCDC Complex in Pecos is under Federal Bureau of Prison contract and not under direct TDCJ authority.]
* * * * * *

Jail operator GEO's troubles not limited to Coke County youth lockup

Complaints by adult inmates similar to what closed TYC facility
12:46 AM CDT on Sunday, October 7, 2007 By HOLLY BECKA / The Dallas Morning News

The private operator of a juvenile prison, closed last week because of fetid conditions and alleged mismanagement, has similar problems at other lockups throughout Texas.

GEO Group Inc. manages more than a dozen adult facilities in Texas that hold federal, state and county prisoners. The Florida-based company shuttered its only youth facility in the state, the Coke County Juvenile Justice Center, after the Texas Youth Commission abruptly removed inmates and canceled an $8 million annual contract.

Among the complaints at other GEO-run facilities in Texas:

• An Idaho inmate at the Dickens County prison in northwest Texas slashed his throat after being held for three months in a cold, moldy solitary cell with bloodstained bedding, according to court records.

• GEO settled a wrongful death case brought by the family of a female inmate at the Val Verde County facility. Plaintiffs alleged the inmate committed suicide after being raped and denied psychiatric care, according to court records.

• A jury ruled that Wackenhut Corrections Corp., which became GEO, had destroyed evidence of an inmate's beating death at a Willacy County facility and returned a $47.5 million verdict against the company.

Holly Becka's DMN report continues......